“Every child should have the opportunity to learn to read music and play an instrument, not just the kids of thrusting middle-class parents.” – Stephen Moss
One of the most exciting commitments of the general election campaign was made in Jeremy Corbyn’s wonderful eve-of-election speech in Colwyn Bay, north Wales. The promise to give every child the chance to learn a musical instrument. There is surely no greater gift for a youngster.
Corbyn has always been good on funding for the arts, especially as it applies to children. It was part of his second Labour leadership campaign and is there again in the Culture for All section of the 2017 manifesto, though the specific promise he had made previously to pay for every child to get the chance to learn an instrument and act on stage has been massaged somewhat into an “arts pupil premium” presumably designed to let schools determine cultural priorities.
But I prefer the purity of the Colwyn Bay version: let’s give every child the chance to learn an instrument. Yes, let them act and paint and write poetry, too, but learning to read and play music gives you access to a new language, other worlds. It is one of the greatest gifts, along with security and self-belief and simple love, that a child can be given.
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